OBJECTIVE: To review, analyse, evaluate and critically appraise available wheelchair skill tests in the international literature and to determine the need for a standardized measurement tool of manual wheeled mobility in those with spinal cord injury. DATA SOURCES: A systematic review of literature (databases PubMed, Web of Science and Cochrane Library (1970-December 2009). SUBJECTS: Hand rim wheelchair users, mainly those with spinal cord injury. REVIEW METHODS: Studies' content and methodology were analysed qualitatively. Study quality was assessed using the scale of Gardner and Altman. RESULTS: Thirteen studies fell within the inclusion criteria and were critically reviewed. The 13 studies covered 11 tests, which involved 14 different skills. These 14 skills were categorized into: wheelchair manoeuvring and basic daily living skills; obstacle-negotiating skills; wheelie tasks; and transfers. The Wheelchair Skills Test version 2.4 (WST-2.4) and Wheelchair Circuit tests scored best on the Gardner and Altman scale, the Obstacle Course Assessment of Wheelchair User Performances (OCAWUP) test was found to be the most relevant for daily needs in a wheelchair. The different tests used different measurement scales, varying from binary to ordinal and continuous. Comparison of outcomes between tests was not possible because of differences in skills assessed, measurement scales, environment and equipment selected for each test. A lack of information regarding protocols as well as differences in terminology was also detected. CONCLUSION: This systematic review revealed large inconsistencies among the current available wheelchair skill tests. This makes it difficult to compare study results and to create norms and standards for wheelchair skill performance.